By: Kebba AF Touray
The Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC), has given an ultimatum for all holders to surrender their unretired imprests.
The committee gave this ultimatum last week during their engagement with the Accountant General (AG), for that office to provide and update them on the matter, and to also look towards ways and means of recovering the said unretired imprests which dates from 2007 to 2021, which also includes the amount of D407, 560.00. The said cumulative imprests amount was issued to five imprest holders, whose names will be published in March if they do not surrender these monies during the period 2007 to 2021, for the President’s Meet the People’s Tours. The said holders were said to have been issued with imprests with the commitment that they will retire the balance upon completion of their activities for which it was issued.
FPAC is currently engaging the AG and the National Audit Office on the said unretired imprests, and part of the actions to be taken by the committee is to publish the names of the said imprest holders by March, if they fail to respond and retire their outstanding imprests.
Providing update on the unretired imprests for the period 2007 to 2021, Hon. Alhagie S Darboe, Chairperson of FPAC, explained that management’s response on the said amounts from four holders (names to be published by end month), amounts to D407,560.00. The breakdown of the said Imprest issued to the said holders is as follows:
a) D105, 000 (to a holder name withheld);
b) D100, 000 (to a holder name withheld); and
c) an accumulative amount of D200,000 for three unretired imprest holders (names withheld), which gives a cumulative imprest amount of D407,560.00.
“The evidence of receiving the said amount was available and the cumulative amount involved is D407, 560.00 which is still outstanding. As reported earlier by the AG who provided the various evidences where one of the holders (name to be published by March), committed the recipients to the “meet the people’s tour and they were supposed to retire upon the completion of their activity,” he told the AG.
And according to an update by the AG’s office, the recipients of the imprests have failed to appear and give evidence to what was submitted to that office.
Offering the actions to be taken against these people, Hon. Alhagie Mbowe said according to the Financial Regulation on imprests, a holder is responsible for the full amount of his or her imprest until it is properly retired. That the onus is on the person who received the money from the Account General, and said ‘whoever is given, will be sought after for whatever documentation is needed and by the Committee.
Dilating on how to recover these monies, the AG’s office said it is evident as contained in the Financial Regulations that the person who the imprest was issued to, is responsible; That in some cases, one would have an imprest written in the name of an individual and will be indicated that it should be disbursed as such. This the office explained means that the person’s name will not be indicated but rather the activity for which the imprest was issued and where the activity will be held, will be indicated.
“So usually, those things will be there, and I want to believe that maybe it happened like that. But it did not come out like that on the authority of letter to say that it should be given to this person. So my take is since there is evidence and those people have confirmed receiving the money after they made an undertaken to retire after spending, I think those people should be held liable,” the Account General’s office indicated. The committee now concludes that if the abovementioned and other imprest holders fail to come forward before the end of February 2023, they will publish their names in March 2023.
The Committee further said that it will continue with the AG’s office this week, for consideration of the 2019 audited accounts of the Gambia Government, as well as the unretired imprests.